Updated: Dec 3, 2022
I hope you all had a spooky Halloween 2022 👻🎃 This year, I celebrated Halloween in a very special way... in the streets of Bilbao, specifically, performing Contortion around the Guggenheim Bilbao. It was such an amazing experience, that I wanted to leave a short post in the BLOG talking about it!
First of all, thank you to my flexibility student Ana for joining me in this adventure! It was a dream for me to have this creature catsuit and perform around Bilbao... but without recording it, I could not have been able to show you all the performance.
The whole idea started years ago, when I first saw this creature catsuit in Kikimora Fashion's instagram account. I totally fell in love with it: it was weird, scary, but still could be sexy and kinky - which it fits with my contortion performance and theater acting. I really wanted it!! and finally, it arrived this October 2022, only a week before halloween was happening. Trying out already the mask was a fun experience - it looked so CREEPY! :-D
For a street performance, you need to take into account many things: weather, natural light, performing hour, location. I love arts and overall artsy world, and being near Bilbao, the Guggenheim Museum has always been my dream location for a contortion street performance. I do not have a contortion table neither a floor to perform, therefore I needed dry weather and not too sunny - otherwise my eyes would go blind and I could get easier dehydrated.
Sooooooo.... Friday 28 had to be the day to perform!! One day before, I was already looking for someone to help me recording and also trying out for the first time the FULL CATSUIT at home. Look at the photo below, isn't it SPOOKY?! the hole in the eyes definitely give to the costume a even creepier look, lol.
First time you try out the catsuit it is important to check the following:
Your range of motion. Usually this are special fabrics that are extra stretchy and you should be able to perform contortion without tearing it off.
Contact with the floor. My biggest lesson learnt when performing happened in 2020, when I had to do a virtual contortion performance for Mongolian Contortion Center & Circus Center Christmas show. My hands were sweating and slippery performing in my living's room floor. On top, the long sleeves of the catsuit made it extra slippery and holding an elbow bridge or elbow stand became a life or death mission. THANKFULLY, the show was a recording. So I could go through the routine more than once without any audience in front.
My favorite way to get into the mood and the acting itself, is playing on loudly music related to the act. In this case, I wanted to be a spooky creature bending around, hence a Halloween music playlist made total sense! Although, Epidemic Sound has also amazing terror and mystery music that I discovered while editing the video posted on the youtube channel.
Music on, next was to switch on the camera and... the movement exploration work started! :) I did not do any previous warm up so, all movements were part of the warm up as well.
As soon as I started, I forgot to check one last point.... valid for all pet owners: WILLY!! my Dachshund... and he did not know if it was me, or who else entering in the room. I tried a couple of times to record the entry in a spooky way, but having him in the room... as you see, it made it impossible haha!
OK, once Willy was sorted out - I left him in the terrace, and he was sitting and looking at me all the time like "wtf is that thing" - I could continue with the routine.
From forward folds, to twists and splits. I mixed low lunges and shoulder movements, connecting with the hands and feet, to check later on the video the effect. Movements can be soft and then sharp. Depending on what you want to transmit to the audience. For me, working in a fast beat is difficult... it comes more naturally to stay soft and slow. But, if we are going to represent a creature and be spooky, sharp movements in a quick beat are needed! As result of this session at home, I discovered poses I really wanted to include on the street performance.
I totally loved the following improv flow I did, although I could not include it in the street performance cause I did not have a surface that would allow my feet and body to slide so quickly :-(
And here an overview of the shapes I explored during that session:
Since the gloves made my hands slippery, I could not explore any backbends or anything on my forearms. Nevertheless, I was really happy with that play time, and it only made me be more excited about the next day.
On the performance day, I made sure I drank enough water previously, and I had enough food. I usually do not eat vegetables or heavy carbs if I need to train or perform contortion. Best is to eat your big meal 2 hours in advance minimum and have some nuts with you, in case you feel hungry or low in energies right before contortion starts.
I had my static tripod and Ana had her joystick... and magic happened! Editing the videos was so much fun, including selecting the right music and making the video creepy but fun!
And the final result? well... CHECK OUT THE VBLOG! and let me steal a smile from you :)
Last but not least, I did not expect to have people approaching me and asking to take a photo with them!! This was certainly a super nice surprise. Even more when I had kids approaching me and I could play with them. Furthermore, it turned out that there were young rhythmic gymnasts in the area, and after perfoming a penché with them, the coach told them
"The zebra almost did a better penché than all you"
For me, that I started with contortion almost on my 30s and I had no dancer/gymnast background, this comment was such a self confidence booster!!! I am grateful to have had continue working on my flexibility and be living in a body that is able to do all those figures, like a young person.
And indeed, I already mentioned before, and I say it again: Flexibility makes you feel free and young !!! So check out the current classes online, in person and the private coaching. No matter your age, you can increase your flexibility and feel as well as good as I do!
Thank you to everyone that approached to say hello and interacted with the Spooky Zebra. I will build in the upcoming months my contortion table and next time I will perform in one spot with music! (If the council of Bilbao allows me, of course ;-) )
I wanted to also give special thanks to Ana, since without her, I would not have been able to share any of the fantastic content we created on that day!! ESKERRIK ASKO ANA!
Until next time, spooky scary skeletons!! 👻